Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 28th February 2022.

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Photo of Stuart Anderson Stuart Anderson Conservative, Wolverhampton South West

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to tackle persecution of religious minorities.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

Bilaterally, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and do not shy away from challenging those we believe are not meeting their obligations. We raise our concerns both in public and in private. Multilaterally, we work with UN, G7, and other multilateral fora to promote FoRB. In May 2021, we ensured that FoRB was included in the G7 communiqué for the first time, demonstrating our leadership in this field. This year, our Special Envoy for FoRB, Fiona Bruce MP, will Chair the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance to bolster joint international action on FoRB.

In addition to our bilateral and multilateral work, we will host an international Ministerial conference on 5-6 July 2022, in London. The UK-hosted International Ministerial Conference on FoRB will drive forward international efforts on this agenda and demonstrate the UK's leading role in supporting freedom and openness. This conference will allow us to use our global influence to promote and protect freedom of religion or belief for all internationally.

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